Daily Encouragement: Year 2, Day 139

From Handbook to God’s Promises


The Proof of Our Pudding
(James 3:13–18)

There’s an old proverb that says, “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.” (This proverb evolved over the years, and in America we more commonly hear, “The proof is in the pudding,” though that was not the original wording.) Based on the quality of the ingredients that went into the pudding, the experience of the chef, and the history of the recipe, we might be able to conclude that the pudding was good. But these things only provide evidence, not proof. 

We can’t ask the original author of this proverb what exactly he meant by “proof.” But if we submit this term to the standards of jurisprudence, we find it means “the strongest form of evidence.” Proof is the highest form of evidence entertained by a court of law; it is evidence so compelling that it leaves no doubt as to the outcome of the case. “Aha!” you might say, “That is why the proof is in the eating!” And you would be right.

But James would have been underwhelmed with the proposition of this proverb. He had already said as much in his letter to the dispersed Jewish Christians who were having a difficult time living out their faith. James’s message was this: It does little good for you to talk about your wisdom and understanding—that is elementary evidence at best. You need to demonstrate proof—proof that you are wise, proof that your faith is genuine, proof that you are willing to bear heavenly responsibilities while living under harassing rulers. And what is the proof? It is found in the living of life.

Earthly wisdom, James goes on, manifests devilish skills and mannerisms. When we see evidence of envy, selfish ambition, disorder, and evil practices, we have proof that this kind of wisdom is not from God. But when we see evidence of purity, peace, consideration for others over self, submission, mercy, impartiality, and sincerity, we have proof of true wisdom based on the evidence. Such wisdom from God is as obvious to others as fruit hanging on a tree.

To know the source of our living skills (our wisdom), we need only taste the fruit we are bearing—or better yet, ask a spouse or friend to taste it. Their response will be the undeniable proof of our pudding.

God’s Promise:
God’s wisdom in you will prove that you know Him.